I have been musing on the issues in the above article recently as more and more of my professional Jamaican sistahs choose partnerships with men who earn less than they do, often without blinking twice (blame the so-called man shortage, desperation, I guess).
No… I’m being funny. I have no hang ups about being with someone whose paycheck is smaller than mine, proven that time and again in past relationships. He just can’t be lazy, unambitious or suffer from terminal female dependency syndrome. You know, the condition where a woman is not only relied on to stock the house with Skittles, soda, spare batteries for the remote, but also to send minutes/credit to the man-child’s cellphone, cause he can’t afford it himself!
I’ll partner with a guy who earns less if he gets me, is loving to a fault, treats me like a queen (money isn’t always needed to do this), is emotionally supportive, mature in his approach to life, and not allergic to doing things that make it easier for the woman of the house to bring home the bacon/jerk porK. I speak here of helping out around the home ie, cooking a meal every now and again — especially if he gets home earlier than she does — and taking out the trash without being prodded. Trite, maybe, but these things sure make it easier for me when I work 12 hour days!
But back to the point I was trying to make. I don’t mind being with a guy who doesn’t earn as much as I do, although it can be really nice when he does! I’ve always been accepting of the diamond-in-the-rough-kinda guy, to my detriment sometimes. I also would not abandon a partner who fell on hard times, lost his job or got injured — that’s how you demonstrate true love. I’m down for whatever until you get back on your feet and I will support you getting there, step by painful step, plus do my best to make sure we don’t starve or lose the roof over our heads in the meantime!
BUT… I have issues with the ‘Sugar Mama’ phenomenon that seems to be de rigeur among young Jamaican males these days. I’ve had a chance to interact with these 20- and even 30-somethings who hunt for older women to be their surrogate moms/lovers (Oedipal, I know). They don’t mind being the boy toy and providing sex and the ‘appearance ‘ of romance in exchange for financial and other support from their older, more economically established ‘cougars’. As one young man who is studying for his university degree told me recently, “Why not? Women have been doing the reverse for centuries!” On the face of it, the logic may seem unassailable, women have been attaching themselves to men of means forever, so why can’t young men?
To each his/her own. But I cannot see devoting myself to single-handedly funding the future of a young, albeit ambitious man scrabbling around in search of his footing in the world, when I have struggled so long (and still struggle, alone) to attain this for myself. Will he return the favour and take care of me in my old age (OK, I exaggerate) when he is finally established professionally and economically? Will another women reap the benefits of my investment?
So, for all the young virile males who fall into this category I have a simple message, “You are not my child! I have no obligation to raise you! I am not desperate and I want a man, not a boy!”
But it seems I may have to contend with this new age phenom as I am assailed constantly by young men who start salivating the minute they hear I am an older professional woman, single, childless, but who manages to still be cute, fun and kinda cool at the same time.
Am I swimming against the tide here, is my stance unrealistic? Am I looking for an extinct or at least endangered species? The Daily Mail article suggests that men who are the major breadwinners may soon go the way of the Caribbean Monk Seal, native to Jamaican waters, and believed to have gone extinct in 1952. Possibly over hunted. Hmmm… maybe some parallels here?
So, are Jamaican women likely to outstrip their male counterparts in the salaries department in the near future by dominating every major career field like the American women in the mentioned article? The latest stats from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, show a two per cent increase in male enrollment at the campus for the 2010/2011 academic year compared to 2008/2009.
“It is a statistic — published in UWI’s annual report for 2010-2011 — that the institution hopes will prove prophetic in correcting the years-old imbalance between the number of females and males attending the university. It puts the current male to female distribution on the campus at 30 per cent to 70 per cent, up from some 20 per cent to 80 per cent a few years earlier.”
“The UWI, Mona campus is cognisant of the under-representation of males within the student population. To help counter this imbalance, new programmes were introduced in the sciences, cultural studies and management studies, the hope being in part to attract more male applicants,” reads a section of the report, published in the March 12, 2012 edition of the Sunday Observer.